Tag Archives: cartoon

Soundtrack Review: Kid Cosmic and the Sonic Courage (2021)

Yesterday (February 26th) Netflix released the official soundtrack album for Kid Cosmic titled: Kid Cosmic and the Sonic Courage-Music by Andy Bean from the Netflix Original Series. Andy Bean is an Emmy-nominated songwriter, composer, and multi-instrumentalist specializing in music for animation. Through his work with The Two Gentlemen Band, Andy landed his first composing gig scoring Disney’s Emmy-nominated animated series, Wander Over Yonder. His frantic banjo-driven sci-fi scores and heartfelt songwriting for the show earned him two Annie award nominations. For his latest project, Netflix’s Kid Cosmic, Andy created much of the soundtrack under the guise of a fictional 70s psychedelic garage punk band, Dr. Fang & The Gang. The propulsive rock and roll score combines with the show’s distinctive art style to create exhilarating musical-action sequences unique in children’s television. 

The soundtrack album includes 20 songs by fictional bands conceptualized by show creator Craig McCracken (The Powerpuff GirlsFoster’s Home for Imaginary Friends) and Andy Bean (Muppet BabiesWander Over Yonder), playing with the idea that the show was scored as if they pulled existing music from the Kid Cosmic world.

Speaking about how the series’ unconventional score was dreamed up, Bean said:

“Craig [McCracken] described his vision for Dr. Fang and The Gang (the fictional band that provides much of the score) to me more than five years ago, and I started writing songs in character as the group immediately – even before I knew any other details about the show. We wanted the music in Kid Cosmic to sound like it was being pulled from an old record in The Kid’s collection. This is that record!”

I don’t know if I’ve ever heard a soundtrack quite like this one. The music for Kid Cosmic and the Sonic Courage really does sound like a collection of records that comes straight from the insane world of Kid Cosmic. I’ll be honest, I usually prefer soundtracks that are purely instrumental (it’s nothing personal, just the way I am), but for this collection I’m willing to make an exception because it just sounds so good! Each song puts me right back into the story of Kid Cosmic and his friends. It wasn’t until listening to the songs apart from the animation that I realized just how much these songs by this faux-band dominate the story in the best way possible.

It’s really no wonder I enjoyed watching Kid Cosmic so much. Aside from being a great story, the music in this soundtrack is just so upbeat and happy that after a few tracks you can’t help but smile and bop your head to the beat.

My favorite track out of all of these is ‘The Kid’ (aka The Kid Cosmic Theme). Not only is this the perfect theme for the show, with its off the wall energy, but it’s also the perfect theme for the Kid himself. This music is just like the Kid, it’s non-stop go go go and it just pumps you up, just like the Kid pumps himself up with his boundless enthusiasm for all things superhero. I also really like ‘Rosa Y Rolla’, because it reminds me of Rosa, my second favorite character in the show. The way ‘Rosa Y Rolla’ is put together I can just imagine Rosa in her giant form stopping around the desert and wreaking havoc as only a giant 4 year old can.

If I have one gripe about this soundtrack, it’s that it doesn’t appear to include all of the instrumental music used in the show. Specifically, I would have loved to hear the dark sci-fi music (from the episode where the spaceship is discovered) in its own separate track, and maybe those will be released some day in the future. For now, Kid Cosmic and the Sonic Courage is a great collection of the music of Kid Cosmic and the perfect way to experience Andy Bean’s wonderful songs.

Hopefully season 2 of Kid Cosmic is on the way and will give us even more of Dr. Fang and the Gang.

Kid Cosmic and the Sonic Courage Track List

  1. The Kid (Kid Cosmic Theme) (2:01)
  2. Vacation Boogie (2:55)
  3. Airborne Shuffle (2:11)
  4. The Gravity Ball (2:38)
  5. Galactic Interference (2:44)
  6. Somebody Call the Doctor (1:59)
  7. Talkin Tuna (2:50)
  8. Groundspeed Hustle (2:33)
  9. Desert Jungle (2:24)
  10. Here Comes the Gang (1:50)
  11. I’ll Do the Best That I Can Do (1:56)
  12. Fetch Me My Bicycle (1:46)
  13. The Kid (Live) (2:09)
  14. Tuna on the Road (2:05)
  15. Rosa Y Rolla (2:03)
  16. The Papa G Stomp (2:54)
  17. Papa G’s Jam (1:44)
  18. Greasy Spoon Space Gal (2:02)
  19. Superkid Surf Party (2:01)
  20. Party Back at My House (2:13)

Kid Cosmic follows the adventures of an imaginative and enthusiastic boy who lives with his free-spirited Grandpa in a sparsely populated desert town. The Kid’s dreams of being a hero seem to come true when he discovers 5 Cosmic Stones of Power in a wrecked spaceship. He forms a team of local heroes to stop an onslaught of alien attacks to steal back the stones. Though the Kid and his team are the good guys, they’re really bad at it,and the Kid learns that his fantasy of being a hero is very different from the reality of what it actually means to become one.

Let me know what you think about Kid Cosmic and Kid Cosmic and the Sonic Courage in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

My Thoughts on: Kid Cosmic: Season One (2021)

A New Music for Superheroes: Talking with Composer Andy Bean about Kid Cosmic (2021)

TV Soundtracks

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My Thoughts on: Total Drama Action (2009-2010)

The drama of Total Drama Island was just the beginning, as the story continues in the second season, titled Total Drama Action. After the first season technically ends in a multiway draw (long story, it’s easier to just watch the season finale), most of the first season cast returns for another chance at the million dollar prize. The biggest difference between this season and the last is that instead of being on an island all season, Total Drama Action takes place on a run-down movie set (that actually has an eerily similar profile to Camp Wawanakwa if you squint).

Because Total Drama Action takes place on a movie set, everything revolves around the movies, with each episode being devoted to a different movie genre: science fiction, monster movies, superhero films, spy films, etc. As such, there are numerous Easter Egg references to different movies, with my personal favorite being the shout out to Alien. After each challenge, one contestant is voted out at an honest to goodness awards ceremony where those who stay are given a Gilded Chris Award (yes, really, McLean’s ego really starts to flare up this season). And in between story arcs, there’s now an aftermath show starring all the contestants who didn’t make it into Total Drama Action. It’s a great addition to the story, and a great way to break up the action (not to mention Geoff has a great character arc set during the aftermath episodes).

Beyond that, though, the season is largely a continuation of everything that started in season 1. If you didn’t watch the first season, a lot of the relationships between characters will not make sense to you. I’m pretty sure that counts as a flaw, though it’s really a minor one.

My favorite part of this season? Watching Courtney slowly become the big villain of the season. Heather starts out the season maintaining this position in the story, but once she leaves, Courtney fills those shoes perfectly, and does she ever! She’s bratty, demanding, and it’s oh so fun to watch because you know her comeuppance is coming eventually.

Total Drama Action is a great continuation of the story and is also the final season that is remotely close to “normal.” Once season 3 starts, things get weird….really weird.

Let me know what you think about Total Drama Action in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

My Thoughts on: Total Drama Island (2007-2008)

TV Reviews

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My Thoughts on: Total Drama Island (2007-2008)

I’m not shy about my love of my guilty pleasures, and the Total Drama series has been one of my favorite guilty pleasures for years. As I remember, I discovered the series in college and I’ve been binging it on and off ever since. The show is split into five seasons: Total Drama Island, Total Drama Action, Total Drama: World Tour, Total Drama: Revenge of the Island, Total Drama All-Stars (Season 5 part 1) and Total Drama: Pakhitew Island (Season 5 part 2). I’ll be going through the seasons one by one, so I’ll be starting with Total Drama Island, where it all started.

For those not familiar, Total Drama Island is a completely and utterly shameless parody/rip-off of every reality show wrapped up in one. Though to be fair the show is primarily a parody of Survivor, as seen by the show’s elimination format and host Chris McLean’s uncanny resemblance to Survivor host Jeff Probst. There’s also a healthy dose of Fear Factor, Master Chef and Big Brother thrown into the mix for good measure. Of the show’s five seasons, this is the most “normal” season there is, though even in season 1 there’s hints of how crazy the story will get in later seasons. For example, the very first episode involves the contestants cliff diving into shark infested waters (yes, really! It only gets crazier from there).

And the show’s format isn’t the only parody/rip-off element of the story: each contestant is a walking, talking stereotype of contestants that always show up in reality TV shows. The 22 contestants in season one are: Beth, Bridgette, Cody, Courtney, DJ, Duncan, Eva, Ezekiel, Geoff, Gwen, Harold, Heather, Izzy, Justin, Katie, Leshawna, Lindsay, Noah, Owen, Sadie, Trent, and Tyler.

Of those contestants we have, just to name a few, the “Type A” girl Courtney, the “Girl you love to Hate” Heather, the “loner Goth girl” Gwen, the “delinquent with a heart of gold” Duncan, the “ditzy blonde” Lindsey, the “chauvinistic one who always gets voted off first” Ezekiel, and “the loud one” LeShawna (this is just a handful of the contestants but you get the idea). You’d think it would be boring with every character being a walking stereotype, but it’s quite the opposite. The show completely embraces this part of the premise and it’s so incredibly funny.

Now, all this being said, there are some moments even in this season where it becomes a little hard to suspend your disbelief that this is an actual reality show (albeit an animated one). For instance, late in the season, there’s an episode centered around horror films where the contestants have to evade a serial killer to win the challenge. Right up until the end we’re shown that the “killer” is Chris’ right hand man Chef in disguise. But then….it turns out there’s a REAL killer loose on the island!! It’s a shocking moment, but one that almost takes me out of the story….almost. Honestly, if you accept from the beginning to just roll with whatever happens, it’s almost impossible to not enjoy it.

If you haven’t tried Total Drama Island, it (and all the other seasons) is currently available on Netflix. I highly recommend it, it’s a really fun series to binge, as it’s the perfect blend of reality fun and mindless entertainment. It also helps that the series goes by really fast ( can easily binge two seasons a day if I start early enough).

Let me know what you think about Total Drama Island in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

My Thoughts on: Total Drama Action (2009-2010)

TV Reviews

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Reviewing Looney Tunes: Forward March Hare (1953)

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Released: February 14th, 1953

Directed by: Chuck Jones (credited as Charles M. Jones)

Bugs Bunny has been put in some interesting situations over the years: he’s encountered Martians, evaded hunters and even been made a Super-Rabbit. But would you believe he was also drafted into the Army? It really happened in Forward March Hare, a cartoon released during the final months of the Korean War. Due to a comedy of errors (mistaking a draft letter sent to “B. Bonny” as being for him), Bugs is summarily inducted into the United States Army and proceeds to (unwittingly) wreak havoc, much to the chagrin of his drill sergeant.

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This is the army?

One of the most hysterical gags in this cartoon is that almost no one seems to realize that Bugs is a rabbit (the one soldier who does at the beginning merely looks at the camera and mutters “So they’re inducting rabbits.”) Another running gag is the drill sergeant slowly but surely getting demoted for each mess Bugs makes (he’s a buck private by the end of the cartoon, the realization that Bugs is a rabbit finally pushes him over the edge). Another favorite moment is when Bugs is shocked awake by the blaring of “Reveille” and vows to “moider that bugler,” running to silence the music with a baseball bat. For some reason, every time I watch that moment I imagine a theater full of soldiers bursting into laughter and cheers (having secretly wished to do the deed themselves).

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Upon being discovered and informed that rabbits cannot serve in the military, Bugs is given a new job: testing artillery shells to see if they’re duds. He happily informs the audience “In 30 years I can retire!” but the joke is that, given his job, he likely won’t make it that long.

Forward March Hare is a wonderful example of Warner Bros. animation in its prime (before the quality dropped in the 1960s). They certainly don’t make cartoons like this anymore. Let me know what you think about Forward March Hare in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Reviewing Looney Tunes

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Reviewing Looney Tunes: Hair-Raising Hare (1946)

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Released: May 25th, 1946

Directed by: Chuck Jones (credited as Charles M. Jones)

Hair-Raising Hare is the debut of one of my favorite Looney Tunes characters: the huge, red, furry, sneaker-wearing monster. He’s been known by several names over the decades: “Monster,” “Rudolph,” and “Gossamer” though in this first appearance he doesn’t appear to have a given name. For some reason, the sight of this huge monster has always elicited a fit of giggles from me (I think it has something to do with the sneakers, they look so incongruous).

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The plot is simple: Bugs is lured to a mad scientist’s castle (how do these mad scientists always have castles?) to be dinner for the aforementioned monster. When Bugs gets wise to this plan, he makes a break for it and the chase is on (interestingly, the scientist is not seen again for the rest of the short). The rest of the cartoon follows Bugs as he outwits and evades the monster, before finally subduing the monster by breaking the fourth wall (making the monster aware of the audience watching him).

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This cartoon has one of Bugs Bunny’s best known gags: at one point he stalls the monster by pretending to be a stylist who declares the monster needs a manicure. Suddenly Bugs whips out a table, chairs and begins to file the monsters nails, all while holding a conversation that you might hear in a nail salon. This is Bugs in pure mischief mode; once he gets over his initial fright, the monster doesn’t stand a chance.

I feel like Gossamer (the furry monster) doesn’t get enough attention compared to better known characters so I like to bring attention to him when I can. Let me know what you think about Hair-Raising Hare in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Reviewing Looney Tunes

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Admitting I was wrong about Steven Universe (2013-present)

Two notes here: 1) I know I said this would be weekly, but I couldn’t hold back my thoughts on this series any longer and 2) Yes, Steven Universe is television and not film, but it’s really good regardless!!!!

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The first thing I need to say about Steven Universe is: I was wrong. I completely misjudged this show, so much in fact that I sometimes feel really bad about it.

Backstory: In the last post, I said that I’m really picky about which movies I watch; this is DOUBLY true for cartoons. When you’re raised on Golden Age cartoons like Looney Tunes and Tom and Jerry (not to mention the renaissance of the 90s), the bar is set really, REALLY high. In the last five years or so, I’d noticed Cartoon Network churning out a lot of what I liked to call “dumb-stupid cartoons.” These are series that have minimal plot but a LOT of really bad/raunchy jokes (I won’t name any names, but if you look at a listing of recent shows, they kind of stand out). And when Steven Universe was announced, I instantly pegged it as one of those cartoons. So I ignored it.

Fast forward to the end of 2015: all of my comic book friends began raving about Steven Universe, and when I let it slip that I hadn’t seen the show, they all begged me to check it out. I resisted for most of 2016, until last month, I finally gave in and checked it out (the first two seasons are on Hulu). It took three episodes but I.Was.Hooked.

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From left to right: Pearl, Amethyst and Garnet

Despite the name of the show, this series isn’t dumb at all! Quite the opposite actually, the backstory is increasingly complex and the show deals with some pretty serious issues at times (racism, war, bullying, etc.) while also spreading positive messages about making friends, cooperation, overcoming hatred, and so on.

Here is the gist of Steven Universe: The Earth is protected by a trio of heroes called the Crystal Gems, Amethyst, Garnet and Pearl. They are aliens from the Gem Homeworld that fought against their own kind over 1000 years ago (under their leader Rose Quartz) to keep the Earth safe. About 10 years before the show starts, Rose (in love with a human named Greg Universe) surrendered her physical form to make her son, Steven. Steven is a Gem/human hybrid who has his mother’s Gem where his belly button should be. As the show goes on, Steven learns to harness his powers while facing a growing threat from the Gem Homeworld (which is still seeking to conquer the Earth for its resources). Along the way Steven has made friends with additional gems including Peridot (whom I LOVE!!!) and Lapis Lazuli, both gems that originally come from Homeworld.

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Lapis Lazuli is blue, Peridot is the green short one and that’s Steven on the end

A really cool part of the show is fusion, where two Gems can fuse together to create a totally new Gem! For example, Garnet (SPOILER ALERT!!!!!) is actually a fusion of Ruby and Sapphire, they just prefer staying fused together, though they will separate occasionally from time to time for various reasons. Pearl and Amethyst can form Opal, Pearl and Garnet can form Sardonyx, all three of them can form Alexandrite and just recently, I discovered that Steven and Amethyst can fuse to form Smoky Quartz (there’s more but I don’t want to give ALL the fusions away).

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I’m nearly caught up with the series now and I still can’t get over how wrong I was about this show. The one thing I wish was different is the episode lengths. Each episode is 11-12 minutes in length, which isn’t that long at all. I wish the episodes could be longer!

It looks like eventually we’re going to be seeing the Gem Homeworld and (hopefully) meet the mysterious Diamonds who run everything (they’re called White Diamond, Yellow Diamond and Blue Diamond, but except for a few mentions and a sort-of flashback to Yellow Diamond, we haven’t actually SEEN any of them. There used to be Pink Diamond too, until Rose Quartz shattered her, it’s kind of a long story).

In closing, I’m really glad I gave this show a chance; it just goes to show you shouldn’t (with some exceptions) judge a show on its name only. If you haven’t seen Steven Universe, please go check it out!!

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